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Crainey: We’re under no illusions how tough the Cambridge game will be

28 January 2022

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Head Coach Stephen Crainey sat down with the media on Thursday afternoon and previewed his side’s Sky Bet League One clash against Cambridge United, which will take place at Highbury this weekend.

Crainey saw his side come back from two goals down earlier on in the week against Plymouth Argyle when Ellis Harrison and Anthony Pilkington added on to Paddy Lane’s earlier goal to secure a point in a tricky six-goal thriller – he will be hoping to see the same spirit again this Saturday against The U’s.

Here's what Stephen has to say in his pre-match interview:

On Saturday’s opposition…

“We’re focused on the game on Saturday, and we will be looking to get three points against Cambridge. They are a tough nut to crack, we’re under no illusions how tough the game will be at the weekend, as we know they can mix it up and play with a bit of physicality about them, so we’ll try and get a game plan and structure in place to try and get the win.

“The most pleasing thing from the other night was even at 3-1 down, the fans stuck with us, and they had belief, I’m glad they did, and the lads repaid them with the late goals. They spurred us on to get the equaliser in injury time so if they can continue that kind of support, I’m sure the lads will deliver on the pitch for them.

“I’ve watched their last couple of games, and they’ve got a lot about them; they’ve got a bit of physicality, the like to get the ball down and play when you let them, so we are looking forward to the game. We have started planning for it so hopefully, we can get the game plan right and end up on the right side of the result.”

On the signing of Josh Harrop…

“Josh [Harrop] has been on the radar for the last couple of weeks; he’s been at Preston for a couple of years now and we know that he’s got top ability and I wanted to add him to our already quality top line as he brings a little bit of composure in the final third, as well as set-plays, so hopefully he can be an asset for us from now until the end of the season.

“He’s still young and has many years ahead of him, I had a good chat with him and his dad at the training ground yesterday and I told them how we play, and I think we suit this kind of player. I’m looking forward to working with him and I hope he can make a real impact during his time here.

“He’ll be able to bring assists and goals to the team, especially in the top line. I genuinely believe that Josh is a Championship footballer and for us to get him is a real coop. If he shows what he can do from now until the end of the season, I think he’ll be back involved with Preston or somewhere else in the league above.”

On the fighting spirit in the squad…

“I know the game the other night finished 3-3 after our two late goals, but it was mixed emotions to be honest because I thought we dominated the game in large spells, and it was just a lack of concentration at the back that saw us leak a couple of goals. The fighting spirit they showed at 3-1 down with five minutes to go, including injury time, the resilience and determination was outstanding and that’s what I’m trying to instil into the group even in training.

“The squad has got massive character and that’s what we are working with them to create, they are taking the messages we are giving them on board and fighting until the death in every game so I want that to continue and I’m sure it will. We’ve sized up a little bit with the signings this window with Zak [Jules], Toto [Nsiala], and Ellis [Harrison].

“They’ve brought some physicality into the group, and we’ve shown in the last couple of games that we can mix it physically with the likes of Rotherham. We’ve got both sides of the game now and I think that is massive in League One, we are a good footballing side, but we can now mix it with most of the teams in the league at this moment.”

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